With recession biting in Britain and the United States, the west of Ireland is experiencing a change in direction of the emigration trail. The knock-on effect is a lengthening of the dole queues at home.
Over the past five years the Archbishop of Tuam Dr Joseph Cassidy says some 7,500 people have emigrated from his diocese.
The population of Ballinrobe is 2,500. So that’s three Ballinrobes scattered to the four winds out of one diocese in five years and that’s a shocking scattering.
A large number of emigrants who came home for Christmas have decided to stay. Some of these returning emigrants talk of their frustration trying to find employment both abroad and at home.
Rosemary O’Keefe from Swinford has recently returned from Manchester. She counts herself lucky to be able to come back home as other people in her situation end up sleeping on the streets.
Ian and Terry Baker have been living in Teeside in the North of England but
The unemployment is so bad that we’re thinking of coming over to Ireland in two or three years.
Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton urges the government to deal with the unemployment crisis and create jobs using every available agency.
According to Dr Joseph Cassidy, Archbishop of Tuam,
The emigrants are not just coming back. The chickens are coming home to roost and we have to decide what we are going to do with them.
An RTÉ News report by Jim Fahy broadcast on 17 February 1991.
The music accompanying this clip is 'Four Strong Winds' by Neil Young from the album 'Comes A Time'.